In a recent Nerd Wallet report, Rocklin, Folsom, and Roseville, rank 11th through 13th (respectively) among California’s Best Cities for Homeownership.

Although California’s economy has recovered from the recession, housing is a problem that persists.

The Golden State’s housing shortage, coupled with stricter credit standards, has made homes in California among the most expensive in the nation. According to a 2014 report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, 4 out of 5 of the least affordable U.S. metropolitan areas are in California. As well, the state has the largest share of households that pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs.

Despite high housing costs, California remains a popular place to live with a 34-month population growth of 2.9%, compared with the national average of 2.4%. These conditions mean finding affordable housing in the state is more difficult than ever. NerdWallet, your trusted financial friend, crunched the data and found the top places in California for homeownership. Our analysis answered three main questions:

  1. Are homes available? We looked at an area’s homeownership rate to determine the availability of homes. A low homeownership rate is likely a signal of competitive inventory, more options for renters rather than buyers and expensive housing. Areas with a high homeownership rate led to a higher overall score.
  2. Can you afford to live there? We looked at median household income, monthly homeowner costs and median home value to assess affordability and determine whether residents could live comfortably in the area. We used monthly homeowner costs to measure cost of living. Areas with high median incomes and low cost of living scored higher. Are you thinking about buying a home? Learn more about current mortgage rates and mortgage refinancing options in our mortgage guide, as well as whether it’s best to rent or buy.
  3. Is the area growing? We measured population growth to ensure that the area is attracting new residents and showing signs of solid growth. This is likely a signal of a robust local economy, which is another attractive characteristic for homebuyers.

For more details on our methodology, please see the section at the end of the report.

Here’s what the top places in California all had in common:

  • Californians are comfortable living in suburbs, with only three places in our top 10 located close (under 30 miles) to major cities.
  • Our top locations are all seeing rapid growth in population, and all 10 have seen population increases of at least 5% or more from 2010 to 2012.
  • Homeownership costs take up a large portion of Californians’ income, with residents in none of our top 10 cities paying less than a third of their income toward housing costs (this amount is considered the standard of affordability by the Department of Housing and Urban Development).

California’s Best Cities for Homeownership

The full report may be accessed at Nerd Wallet.

  • Kamran Rosen / Nerd Wallet – reprinted with permission